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Review Article

Liquid Chromatography High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry in Forensic Toxicology: What are the Specifics of Method Development, Validation and Quality Assurance for Comprehensive Screening Approaches?

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 15 ]


Sarah M.R. Wille, Brigitte Desharnais, Simona Pichini, Annagiulia Di Trana, Francesco Paolo Busardò, Dirk K. Wissenbach and Frank Theodor Peters*   Pages 1230 - 1244 ( 15 )


The use of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) has increased over the past decade in clinical and forensic toxicology, especially for comprehensive screening approaches. Despite this, few guidelines in this field have specifically addressed HRMS issues concerning compound identification, validation, measurement uncertainty and quality assurance. To fully implement this technique, certainly in an era in which the quality demands for laboratories are ever-increasing due to various norms (e.g. the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 17025), these specific issues need to be addressed. This manuscript reviews 26 HRMSbased methods for qualitative systematic toxicological analysis (STA) published between 2011 and 2021. Key analytical data such as samples matrices, analytical platforms, numbers of analytes and employed mass spectral reference databases/libraries as well as the studied validation parameters are summarized and discussed. The article further includes a critical review of targeted and untargeted data acquisition approaches, available HRMS reference databases and libraries as well as current guidelines for HRMS data interpretation with a particular focus on identification criteria. Moreover, it provides an overview on current recommendations for the validation and determination of measurement uncertainty of qualitative methods. Finally, the article aims to put forward suggestions for method development, compound identification, validation experiments to be performed, and adequate determination of measurement uncertainty for this type of wide-range qualitative HRMSbased methods.


High-resolution mass spectrometry, method development, validation, quality assurance, measurement uncertainty, systematic toxicological analysis, HRMS data acquisition.


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